Offseason News

There has been plenty of KU news permeating the papers this offseason. Phog.net takes a look at some of the hoops headlines whetting your appetite until Late Night in October.

If you were jones'ing for that basketball fix you sure haven't been devoid of hoops news during what's been an interesting offseason at KU.

Normally the post-March months feature scattered news stories but since KU was ousted in the second round of the NCAA Tournament the papers have been filled with news directly or indirectly related to KU.

Early Outs

While Sherron Collins departure was a given, KU was waiting on decisions from some of its highly-regarded underclassmen. To no one's surprise 6-11 junior Cole Aldrich and freshman Xavier Henry chose to pursue their professional careers in the NBA. To both players credit, they made their decisions early allowing KU head coach Bill Self to actively shop their scholarship spots to aspiring prospects.

Both players experienced teary-eyed press conferences but both sure of their decisions hired agents making their departures a sure thing.

Recruiting Run

A final recruiting race ensued and Self made his final pushes to obtain a couple of more blue chippers to add to his 2010-2011 roster. This one wasn't quite as dramatic as last season's Xavier Henry saga but it was interesting nonetheless.

KU was thought to have a legit shot at two marquee names in Doron Lamb and Josh Selby. Both players announced their intentions during the McDonald's All-American game. The heralded Selby opted for KU while Lamb chose the Kentucky Wildcats. Once Selby made his decision it looked like Portland's Terrance Jones loomed as a possible marquee name willing to join Selby on KU's roster. Turned out that Jones chose to stay close to home and attend Washington. Well, at least he did for a few days. Ultimately though, Jones ended up alongside Lamb and Kentucky head coach John Calipari's decorated roster. 

Just a few days later, KU received good news involving the class of 2012 when sophomore Zach Peters, a 6-9 big man from Plano, Texas, orally committed to the Jayhawks.

Ticket Scandal

Usually April showers bring May flowers but not in this case. In late May, a multitude of issues surfaced that Kansas University and KU men's basketball to deal with.

In a positive light, former Missouri State head coach Barry Hinson replaced Brett Ballard (new head coach at Baker University) as Self's Director of Basketball Operations. That was the simple and least complicated news delivered in May.

During the latter part of May KU released the results of an "independent investigation" of a ticket scandal which occurred in the athletic department. Athletic Department employees were implicated in a case that involved upwards of 20,000 football and basketball tickets and over $1.03 million in revenue. Those were the initial numbers released numbers that were expected to grow with a federal investigation. Kansas Athletic Director Lew Perkins accepted full responsibility for the scandal that involved six individuals who no longer work for the Athletic Department.

Origins of the ticket scandal could be traced back to 2006 according to Jason King who now works as a reporter for Yahoo. King didn't have the verification and proof he needed to go to Perkins with the information back then. It could've saved Perkins and the university a lot of embarrassment.

But the plot thickened when Pump N' Run, a Kansas City-based AAU team was implicated in the Yahoo report. The whistle-blower David Freeman (Lawrence-based Real Estate Developer) offered information which stated former KU director of ticket operations Rodney Jones and Roger Morningstar followed the lead of Dana and David Pump when all involved allegedly earned money scalping tickets during KU's two Final Four appearances in 2002 and 2003.

As most people around the program know Roger is a former KU player and the father of Brady Morningstar. Roger coached Pump N' Run in the past and has seen its fair share of players attend KU. Current Pump N' Run coach L.J. Goolsby vehemently spoke out in defense of the idea that the KC AAU team was "funneling" players to Kansas. Goolsby also spoke out in defense of Morningstar saying there was nothing to "suggest" Roger's involvement.

Self commented on the report which did not state that "funneling" was for sure going on but Self viewed the report could be interpreted that way.

"By no means in this situation is that remotely accurate. This is a situation where the people in question haven't had anything to do with the recruitment of any of our prospects since we've been at Kansas."

Goolsby admitted he's had more players attend Missouri then Kansas. Currently, there are four players on KU's roster with KC Pump N' Run ties.

Conference Shakeup

Post ticket scandal reports about the Pac-10 trying to snatch away half the Big 12 surfaced. A widespread panic ensued for a lot of schools testing the nerves of coaches and athletic directors throughout the country, not just the Big 12.

It appeared for awhile that Kansas and Kansas State would be left out of all the reshuffling. After all kinds of rumors and reports that involved just about every team in the conference, when the smoke cleared Colorado and Nebraska were gone and the Big 12 was reduced to ten. The Buffs ended up in the Pac-10 while the Cornhuskers left for the Big Ten. It could've been much worse for Kansas who according to Self needed to remain a part of a BCS conference. Losing two teams is a hit that the conference can certainly recover from.

Both teams will be removed from the Jayhawks schedule beginning in 2011-2012 but the Big 12 is technically left with an even stronger conference after losing two teams who were often cellar-dwellers. The Jayhawks will now play 18 conference games instead of 16 which could be a negative down the road. It does takeaway two non-conference games but certainly the Big 12 will feature one of the only TRUE conference titles in the country.

Big Lew To Leave KU

Lew Perkins is one of the best Athletic Directors in the country. Period. He did an excellent job as an AD at Maryland, and a remarkable job in Storrs, CT at UCONN. He is a huge part of everything good that has happened at KU the last eight years and has helped build a solid foundation for years to come. But after the 2010-2011 year Perkins is calling it a day at KU.

No one could blame him after the ticket scandal and rumors that he had received exercise equipment in return for better access to basketball seats. But that isn't likely what drove Perkins away.

When Perkins walked into Self's office on June 11th, Self assumed when he shut the door that there was news involving conference realignment. Instead Self was informed by Perkins that he would step down at the end of 2011. Self called the decision "suprising but not shocking" and informed reporters that Lew had been talking about retirement plans for over a year.

KU Infirmary

What's an offseason without keeping the medical staff busy?

First, it was freshman Josh Selby who broke the pinkie finger in his left hand in his very first pick up game at KU. Not a great start but no one thinks this will affect a player as talented as Selby. Still t was an interesting beginning to his career when he showed up for his first official interview with a cast on his non-shooting hand. After a four-six weeks pickup game ban, Selby is expected to resume normal activities with the team.

Conditioning, ball-handling, and a lot of one-handed shooting work have been a staple of the 6-3  Selby's normal regimen along with six hours of summer classes.

In a game in early June at KU's Basketball camp Marcus Morris severely bruised a tailbone, Thomas Robinson broke his nose, Markieff Morris, who ran into Robinson needed three stitches to close a cut in his mouth.

Oh yeah, and there was NCAA aftermath injury news as fans learned that KU guard Tyrel Reed played two games with a broken big toe on his left foot. Tough kids.

Back-to-Back

With all the negative news scattered throughout the papers Kansas got a heavy dose of hitting the lottery.

Xavier Henry and Cole Aldrich spent draft day in the green room in New York City and both were rewarded by hearing their names announced as part of the lottery by David Stern. First, it was the 6-11 Aldrich who went to the New Orleands Hornets followed by Xavier who was chosen 12th by the Grizzlies. Aldrich was eventually traded to the up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder where he will join a roster that features Texas great Kevin Durant and former KU star Nick Collison.

Self knew that the Thunder were interested in moving up in the draft to obtain Aldrich and the eighth year KU coach also made a trip to Memphis to speak to the Grizzlies in person. If you're wondering what being back-to-back picks in the lottery means to your paycheck – Aldrich will make $1.7M in year one, $1.9M in year two, and over $2.0M in year three. Henry will net $1.68M in his first year, $1.8M in year two, and over $1.9M in 2012-2013.

The surprise of the night came when Sherron Collins was not drafted. Hard to imagine the winningest player in KU history could not find a spot on someone's draft board. The rumors were floating around for months that Collins weight was yo-yoing back and forth. Being just 5-11 and 207 lbs+ with weight that was said to reach as high as 229 at times nixed his status as a high level prospect. For Sherron to make it at the NBA level he knows that his fitness and conditioning must be tip-top. A disappointed Collins got a call from Charlotte Bobcats GM Michael Jordan and will take part in summer league for the Bobcats. Collins will again have to prove himself to Jordan and to head coach Larry Brown if he wants to earn a spot on a Bobcats roster that he could actually help.

The summer league takes place in Orlando, FL July 5-9th.

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